Young children love singing and puppets, and combining the two provides an entertaining and learning experience for toddler and preschool ages. Many songs for puppets involve counting and numbers.
The puppets provide young audiences a visual presentation of things being subtracted and added while the number is being sung, thus fostering the development of math concepts and skills. The following article focuses on glove and stick puppets for songs that involve counting.
Finding the Puppets
Many puppets can be purchased, but they are also easily made. Glove puppets can be made by using a garden glove and felt pieces or other material glued to each finger. Some glove puppet makers use pom poms and googly eyes to make animals.
Stick puppets can be created with the use of large popsicle sticks or chopsticks and pictures on firm paper, preferably laminated, attached to each stick. Pictures can be downloaded on the computer or coloring book images can be copied. Alternatively, foam is a useful craft material for making stick puppets.
Singing with Puppets
In early childhood settings, the adult caregiver will use the puppet as a visual presentation for the young children to enjoy. In smaller group settings or home environments, the children themselves can be the puppeteers.
Either way, number recognition with the use of the puppet and lyrics still occurs. The songs can be sung by all those participating or listened to through recorded music. One album which holds a fair amount of songs appropriate for glove puppet use is Raffi's Singable Songs albums which can be bought in a collection containing all three CDs or by purchasing the individual albums.
Counting Songs with Things that Grow
The following songs correlate well to glove puppets and stick puppets, and they can all be used as poems instead of singing.
"Five Little Pumpkins"
Five little pumpkins sitting on the fence
The first one said, “Oh my it’s getting late”.
The second one said, “There are witches in the air”.
The third one said, “But we don’t care”.
The fourth one said, "Let’s run and run and run”.
The fifth one said, “I’m ready for some fun”.
Ooooh went the wind, and out went the light
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.
"Way Up High in an Apple Tree"
Way up high in an apple tree
Five little apples working looking at me
I shook that tree as hard as I could
And down came an apple, mmm, it was good.
Continue singing down until there are no apples left.
"Five Tulips in the Ground"
Suggested tune: "Down By the Station"
Five tulip bulbs planted in the ground,
Waiting very quiet without a sound.
The sun came up and the rain came down,
And one little tulip popped out of the ground.
Puppet Songs about Animals
The following songs are appropriate for counting and number recognition for they are about animals leaving and sometimes returning. By clicking on the title, the reader will be connected to further information, such as lyrics and tune.